B. R. Ambedkar
| Thinking hard|
or hardly thinking?
|Major trains of thought|
|The good, the bad|
and the brain fart
|Come to think of it|
“”History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them.
|—Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, What Congress & Gandhi Have done to the Untouchables|
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956), or simply Baba Saheb or Babasaheb, was an Indian economist, philosopher, social activist and politician. Ambedkar was a prolific scholar and he held two doctorates in economics — one each from Columbia University and London School of Economics.
Ambedkar was born into a Mahar (Dalit) caste, and for this reason was treated as an Untouchable. For this reason, Ambedkar faced segregation even in school classrooms from his upper-caste classmates and teachers. However, against all odds, he pursued higher education and obtained his doctoral degrees from Columbia University, USA and London School of Economics, UK. Following this, he returned to India but continued to face caste-based discrimination. Ambedkar built his rationalist thought and philosophy through careful and extensive reading. John Dewey, a professor at Columbia University and noted pragmatist, formed a big impression on Ambedkar during the period of his studies there. In London, Ambedkar found another significant influence in Bertrand Russell, even though the two never met in person.
He was one of the first people to study and analyze Indian history from a rationalist perspective and, along with Jotirao Phule and Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. Babasaheb has authored more than 15 books and numerous other publications covering law, economics, political science, history and religion.
He is widely described as the major author of the Indian constitution, and people refer him as the "Father of the Indian constitution".
- Administration and Finance of the East India Company
- Ancient Indian Commerce
- Buddha or Karl Marx
- Castes n India
- Commercial Relations of India in the Middle Ages
- Communal Deadlock and a way to solve it
- Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability 1
- Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability 2
- Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability 3
- Evidence Before The Royal Comission on Indian Currency and Finance
- Federation versus Freedom
- India and The Pre-requisites of Communism
- India on the eve of the Crown Government
- Lectures on the English Constitution
- Maharashtra as a Linguistic Province
- Manu and the Shudras
- Mr. Russell And The Reconstruction of Society
- Mr. Gandhi And The Emancipation Of The Untouchables
- Need for Checks and Balances
- Notes on Acts and Laws
- Notes on History of India
- Notes on Parliamentary Procedure
- Pakistan or the Partition of India
- Paramountcy and the claim of the Indian states to be independent
- Philosophy of Hinduism
- Plea to the Foreigner
- Preservation of Social Order
- Ranade Gandhi & Jinnah
- Review : Currency & Exchange
- Review : Report of the Taxation Inquiry Committee
- Small Holdings in India and their Remedies
- Statement of Evidence to the Royal Commission on Indian Currency
- States and Minorities
- The Constitution of British India
- The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India
- The Present Problem in Indian Currency
- The Present Problem in Indian Currency 2
- The Problem of Political Suppression
- The Untouchables and the Pax Britannica
- Thoughts on Linguistic States
- Untouchables or the children of India
- Waiting for a Visa
- What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables
- Which is worse?
- Who were the Shudras?
- With the Hindus
Criticism of Hinduism
Ambedkar once said, "It is clear that you cannot develop your personality at all in Hinduism. In Hinduism, conscience, reason and independent thinking have no scope for development." This quote has become a favourite of especially Pakistani trolls and many other anti-Hindu people. However, this quote is far from truth. To refute Ambedkar, just the name of one person who developed his personality within Hinduism is sufficient but we can name hundreds. Some of them are Chandragupta Maurya, Kautilya, Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Tulsidas, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Swami Vivekananda etc. Then what was clear to Ambedkar? It was only his polemicism.
The importance of NagpurHe chose Nagpur as the site for conversion to Buddhism less than two months before his death. When asked why he chose Nagpur, he said:
"Those who read Buddhist history will come to know that in India, if anyone spread Buddhism, it was the Nag people. The Nag people were fearful enemies of the Aryans. A Fierce and fighting war went on between the Aryans and non-Aryans. Examples of the harassment of the Nags by the Aryan people are found in the Puranas. Agasti Muni helped only one Nag man to escape from that. We spring from that man. Those Nag people who endured so much suffering wanted some great man to raise them up. They met that great man in Gautam Buddha. The Nag people spread the teaching of Buagwan Buddha all over India. Thus we are like Nag people.It seems that the Nag people lived chiefly in Nagpur and the surrounding country. So they call this city Nagpur, meaning city of Nags. About 27 miles from here the Nag Nadi river flows. Of course the name of the river comes from the people living here. In the middle of the Nag habitation runs the Nag Nadi. This is the main reason for choosing this place. Nagpur was chosen because of this. In this matter, there is no question of a lie to provoke someone. This is not such a mental twist. The reason of the RSS (headquartered in Nagpur) did not even come into my mind."
The first highlighted claim has little to no historical basis. Buddha had several followers in the Ganges plains. Later on, Asoka appointed certain officials to propagate Buddhism across India. They emanated from North India (whereas Nagpur is in the West Indian state of Maharashtra). Some evangelists of Early Buddhism were Moggaliputta-Tissa, Dharmaraksita (a Greek), Asoka's own children Mahindra and Sanghamitra, etc. Later patrons of Buddhism include Kanishka, an ethnic Central Asian. None of the historical sources call these people Nags or Nagas.
There are similar faults with the second highlighted claim. Can a 20th century Ambedkar claim a vague "we" as the descendants of a man who lived more than two thousand years ago according to scriptures, and a man whose existence is not backed by historical evidence?
Even the etymology of Nagpur that Ambedkar alleges has no takers among scholars.
In spite of the above issues, let us suppose Ambedkar's Purana sources are correct (He never specified them). If he accepts those specific verses as truth, then shouldn't he also accept the discriminatory provisions of shudras in the same scriptures as a gospel truth?
- See the Wikipedia article on Babasaheb's Annihilation of Caste.
- Ambedkar at Columbia University, a web page dedicated to the life and work of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
- The story of the Rationalist Movement in India Book review of Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India, Johannes Quack, Oxford University Press, New York, 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-981260-8; 978-0-19-981262-2
- An overview of rationalism in India
- Ambedkar's rethinking of Religion
- Keer, Dhananjay (1995). Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission Popular Prakashan, India. p. 12-14. ISBN 81715423